Parliament Is The Weakest Link In Our Democrac, THE EJURA/SEKYEDUMASI NDC COMMUNICATION TEAM MEMBER, Auspicious De Boss Laments…….
The Rt. Hon. Mike Ocquaye, a retired professor of political science and a minister of the Gospel of Jesus in the Baptist Church, is the speaker of the Parliament of Ghana. And he is leading parliament to spend $200m to build a new 450-seater chamber for parliament when we already have one of the most magnificent parliamentary chambers in the world.
The Speaker and his “Honourable” colleagues think it is prudent to spend such an amount of money on a new chamber of parliament at a time when our major referral hospitals have no beds to admit patients and either have to turn patients away or put them on the floor.
They think it is prudent to spend such an amount of money on a new chamber of parliament when there are only 55 functioning ambulances in a country with a population of about 29 million, bringing it to an embarrassing ratio of 520,000 Ghanaians to one ambulance.
The Majority Leader of Parliament, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, has mounted a spirited defense of the proposal and has advanced such very strong arguments in favour of it.
He says, among other things, the current chamber is too far away from the parking lot and so MPs have to walk a long distance from their parked cars to the chamber; the current chamber has pillars that block the view of the speaker and so some MPs never get to catch the eye of the speaker during parliamentary debates; and that in the current chamber, the space between the Majority and the Minority seats is so narrow that in the event of a heated arguments, the two sides can easily clash.
If this is the kind of logic displayed by the Leader of the House, then Ghanaian could imagine the quality of debates on important National issues on the floor of that house
MPs in Ghana have a monthly salary of ¢9,000 after taxes, in addition to a ¢90,000 rent allowance. They are given at least $80,000 each in a state-guaranteed car loan. MPs are the only people in Ghana who get an ex-gratia after every four years. In the last payment in 2012, returning MPs collected ¢276,000 while exiting MPs took ¢311,000.
That is what our “Honourable” Members of Parliament are doing to us, and they are saying we should shut up and suffer in silence because democracy is expensive.
Our democracy is broken. The insensitivity of the political class is mind-boggling. It is Animal Farm all over again. Parliament is the weakest link in our democracy.
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Also read : Ernesto: Drop that Chamber
As someone has suggested, if the present chamber is too small or not conducive for parliamentary business, then the MPs should operate via a WhatsApp group with the Speaker as the group admin. Or they should operate a double-track system.
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Auspicious De Boss on 0246816833